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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Egypt upholds nine death sentences over prosecutor killing

Hisham Barakat was killed when his convoy was bombed in Cairo in June 2015

Detectives gather at the site of a bombing in Cairo that killed Egyptian state prosecutor Hisham Barakat on June 29, 2015. AFP 
Detectives gather at the site of a bombing in Cairo that killed Egyptian state prosecutor Hisham Barakat on June 29, 2015. AFP 

An Egyptian court on Sunday upheld death sentences for nine people convicted of the assassination of a top prosecutor in a car bombing three years ago, a judiciary source said.

Hisham Barakat was killed when his convoy was bombed in Cairo in June 2015, after extremists called for attacks on the judiciary to avenge a crackdown on Islamists.

Two years later a criminal court sentenced 28 people to death for their involvement in the murder, with only 15 defendants present in court for the verdict at the time.

On Sunday, Egypt's court of cassation confirmed the death sentence for nine of the 15, while reducing the sentences of the six others to life imprisonment, the judicial source said.

The verdicts of the other defendants were not considered because they had been sentenced in their absence.

No one claimed the attack against Barakat but the authorities pointed the finger at members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood of former president Mohamed Morsi.

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Read more: Egypt says Hamas, Brotherhood involved in top prosecutor's murder

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Since Morsi was removed from office by the military in 2013, Egypt has struggled to quell an extremist insurgency and cracked down on Islamists who backed him.

Hundreds of Morsi supporters have been sentenced to death, while the former president and top Brotherhood figures have also faced trial.

The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed and branded a terrorist organisation in December 2013, months after Morsi's removal.